Wolverines, Poodles & 7 Years No Vacation

I just came home from a week in Ireland, taking a much-needed rest. This morning I was recalling a 7+ year span where we took no perry irish bar Wolverines, Poodles & 7 Years No Vacationvacation at all, save for occasional visits to stay with family in Nebraska.

That lonely road is so often part of the entrepreneurial journey. It’s part of being… a wolverine.

Poodles get their food and water bowl filled every day. They sleep on the couch, watch Seinfeld reruns with the kids. Their owners take them for trots down the sidewalk.

Wolverines live in the woods, brave ice and snow, mark out large territories, sleep in the wild, eat what they kill.

Poodles live in cubicles.

Wolverines live free.erin dun chaoin sm Wolverines, Poodles & 7 Years No Vacation

There’s a time in the life of every entrepreneur where you realize: “Hey wait a minute…. I’m not a poodle. The wild is calling me and its call is irresistible.” You plunge yourself and your family into a life of risk and adventure.

Laura endured much in those baloney sandwich and ramen soup years. She never got new clothes. One time her friend had to coax her to go out for coffee and pay for both of them because Laura had NO money. I was gone all the time and she was alone at home with the kids.

I have nothing against poodles; every entrepreneur knows you need a bunch of them on hand to mind the store.

But I LOVE wolverines. I love entrepreneurs. I admire those who brave the wild.

There is something about that struggle that toughens you up — but there is also something that softens you. When you’re an entrepreneur, you drive by that brand new restaurant that just opened up, and you know EXACTLY what the owner is going through.

You know what he hopes for and you know what it feels like when nobody has walked in his door all afternoon. He hears the refrigerators running and he hears the help washing the dishes and he hears the money going OUT when none is coming IN.cashel castle s Wolverines, Poodles & 7 Years No Vacation

You instantly sense it was the owner who came and greeted you at your table, not just another wait staff, because he carried an air of authority and concern about what you experienced in his restaurant.

You realize that without people like HIM and people like YOU, earth would grind to a halt. You know that no government mandate, no educational program, no platitude or well wishing can substitute for the grit and determination of an entrepreneur’s soul.

The other thing you realize is, he must pay his price for success. Nobody can pay it but him. He has to get his education and it’s never free. He has to buy his equipment. He’s gotta put his balls on the chopping block.

Most of all he has to put his HEART on the line. He hurls his hopes into the crucible.

You don’t win this game without putting your heart in it. Sorry pal, that’s just not how it works. You are going to RISK disappointment. You are going to DARE to hope and DARE to dream. You will live a life of extremes. More pain than most. Yes, more exhilaration than most also.

It reminds me of western Ireland, where I just was: Wild, windswept vistas. Craggy rocks, otherworldly treeless landscapes where the wind howls year ’round. Where the grass is 8 inches thick, so deep your fingers can’t even find the soil. It springs against your feet as you run past perilous cliffs. You look at the land and it feels as though the land is looking right back at you.

Once you’ve paid the price, you have the smell of battle on you. I think of all our Mastermind Club members who gather in our forum. You can TELL that they’re in the game. You know they have skin in the game cuz they show you their scars.

That forms a community of rare quality. john perry paul s Wolverines, Poodles & 7 Years No Vacation

Some folks stereotype entrepreneurs as greedy money grubbers who only care about profits. My experience is, I have to pound the “care about profit” into their heads! That’s because many times what they most desire is to give something to the world and simply have it be accepted.

Whether they’re authors or inventors or restauranteurs, they want people to enjoy and appreciate what they’ve created. They LOVE to help each other. Love it. Yes, they hope to get paid, and yes they want to take great vacations. Still, the joy of having a satisfied customer… or having a beer with another wolverine and sharing war stories… that is often the greatest thing you experience all day.

Every scar, every disappointment, every blind alley – it all pours into the alchemy stir fry. You never know where that lesson learned is going to pay off. It could be next year. But it could also be today.

Because I know YOU are in the fight, I celebrate you.

Seize the day.

Perry Marshall

“Dreams are free, but they will cost you everything.”
-Heather Treadway

About the Author

Entrepreneur Magazine says: "Perry Marshall is the #1 author and world's most-quoted consultant on Google Advertising. He has helped over 100,000 advertisers save literally billions of dollars in Adwords stupidity tax."

He is referenced across the Internet and by The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune and Forbes Magazine.

Last 5 Posts by Perry

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Posted by Perry on June 28th, 2013. Filed in Marketing Blog. Tagged as . Follow responses thru Comments RSS. Follow responses thru Comments RSS.

Comments on Wolverines, Poodles & 7 Years No Vacation »

  • A helpful reminder that many others have dealt with the same challenges. Thanks!

  • Dave says:

    (Just tried sending this by replying to your email with your blog post but it didn’t go through so I’m posting it as a comment)


    I’ve bought some of your courses and followed you a very long time. I bought your adwords PDF like 6 years ago and that is what started it all.

    This blog post you wrote is EXACTLY what I needed. I’m not sure if you read these emails or not but I thought I’d quickly share my story and how reading an email like this is SO encouraging and so inspiring.

    I live in Calgary, Alberta and I have a beautiful, unbelievable wife and three children. I became an entrepreneur about 7 years ago. My first real experience was when my brother and I joined Zrii and quickly became some of the top distributors in the company. We traveled around North America and at one point had 20,000 people in our downline. Then 2 and a half years into it I realized that I could no longer be in business with a man like Bill Farley (the billionaire owner). So I told my brother I’m walking away. At the time we were making around $15,000/mo and my brothers response was, “Dave, you can’t just walk away from this income”. I told him my heart wasn’t in it and I couldn’t do it any longer.

    So we walked away and Bill Farley called us stupid and other names which I won’t repeat. Then we joined Nu Skin, a twenty-five year old company. For 2 years we went crazy building this and we were one of the fastest growing teams in Nu Skin, reaching Diamond within a year.

    During all this time in network marketing, I was using the Internet to generate leads and dominate the search results. I got in trouble with compliance at Zrii which drove me nuts. They got mad at me because I wasn’t allowed to use their name when marketing online (even though I made no income or health claims). I’ve never experienced such stupidity in my life. Then in Nu Skin we dominated the Internet. I was all over the search results with my YouTube videos and my blog was getting 400 visits a day! Nu Skin told me when we signed up that they would have no problem… well, I guess they didn’t expect what I could do and the top distributors started complaining. They said it wasn’t “fair” that I was all over the Internet. So Nu Skin decided to go after me just like Zrii. Ironically enough, the same distributors who said it wasn’t “fair” had private jets they used to fly around the world to do meetings (not sure how that is fair since I didn’t have a private jet).

    So after all these years of blood, sweat and tears in MLM I realized my skill set and passion for marketing online was better served elsewhere. About 3 years ago (actually during our time in Nu Skin) I came up with an idea to rank websites locally for local businesses and lease them back to them when they were at the top of Google. Our business took off (http://LocalOnlineAdvertisingExperts.com) and within two years we had $65,000/mo in revenue coming in. I really believed we were on to something big.

    Then April 24, 2012 Google did the Penguin update and wiped out half our business overnight.

    The feeling of building something in Zrii and then walking away, building something in Nu Skin and then it not turn out and then building your own company and seeing it cut in half in one night… all in a span of 7 years is very difficult. After the nasty little Penguin hit our business I worked day and night for months on end trying to fix our websites with no avail.

    With no money coming in (since the only revenue was paying company bills and debt) I started a year long journey of faith that my wife and I have never experienced before. My brother took a job downtown with Baker Hughes and left my Dad and I to keep building companies that he owned a share in.

    For the last year I’ve been developing http://OilfieldInspectionApp.com and http://VassandAssociates.com and http://LocalConneXtion.com

    Even though these are great ideas with a lot of potential and I’m very passionate about them, I’ve had hardly any revenue. When I say I’ve been living by faith, I literally mean it. Very few people know what it is like to cry out to God and trust Him that even though all hell breaks lose you believe He will be faithful. I simply trusted that He would direct my path.

    Every time it seemed like I was about to go bankrupt God would provide a HUGE miracle.

    I can’t imagine being an entrepreneur and not having faith. Faith is the ONLY thing that kept me going… knowing that God is good, faithful and always follows through on His promises.

    Anyway, I feel like I’ve been in the battle and have those wounds you speak of. I’m still not out of the thick of it but I believe things could be turning around. The craziest thing happened to me a month ago and I was about to hit a wall when a friend of mine begged me to go into business with him to do SEO again and also provide leads to Realtors. I told him no, I’m too busy with my other stuff… but for some reason I ended up partnering with him and from that over the last few weeks I had money to pay my bills and now it could turn into something quite big.

    My journey has been crazy and I’m thankful that God allowed me to “walk through the valley of the shadow of death” and experience His grace along the way.

    Thank you Perry for your words of encouragement. You never know who you touch and you’ve really touched me and encouraged me during one of the hardest financial times of my life.

    Have a great summer!

    • Perry says:


      I always know that the people who get my emails every day range from literally making millions of dollars per year to scraping money out of the couch cushions to buy breakfast. I’m really glad this was an encouragement. Anyone who can achieve diamond in 2 different MLM’s has considerable ability and personal assets. Never forget that.


  • This came just in time.. I haven’t taken a vacation in years and finally decided that it’s time for me to travel. Thank you for the encouragement and every time I read your article, it’s as if I’ve been awakened!

    Have a great Summer!

  • Alex says:

    Perry, you’re one of a kind! A true Wolverine!!!

  • Peter says:

    Thanks, I needed that!

  • Andy says:

    So wolwerines live free but you have not taken a vacation in 7 years. Is this freedom?

    • Perry says:

      I’ve taken lot of vacations and i just took one. From 1991-1998 there were no vacations. I was in the Dilbert Cube struggling to get out.

      The point is, freedom has a price and a lot of people are paying it.

      And I don’t think you have to go 7 years without a vacation. It might have to be a really cheap one – but you should take it.

  • Quantella owens says:

    Dear Mr. Marshall,

    I think that there are all kinds of “cubicles.” Some people build organizations around themselves which have the same effect of being locked to a desk.

    I mention this because I attempted to send you an offer via Mr. Thomas, but he was in full “gatekeeper mode.” I am afraid we got off to a very bad foot and he misunderstood my request. I forwarded my email to Mr. Gillogly, but I am not feeling hopeful.

    I hope you don’t lock yourself in a box and are blind to opportunities which may have come your way, but which might not involve your entire staff.

    Thanks for all the great posts.

    Your Customer,

    Quantella Owens,
    Virtuality LLC

  • Wow, Mr. Marshall, 7 years without vacation??? That must have been really hard!!!

  • Kelly says:

    Thanks, Perry. I don’t think I quite have the right to claim the label of wolverine, because I’m working with a net; still doing my same old freelance gigs for clients from the last twenty years, and still grateful to have a husband with a full-time job. But this particular blog speaks to my soul, and describes exactly what I feel in terms of determination for the entrepreneurial path I’m on in my “free time.” Someday perhaps I’ll be able to express just what you & your folks have meant to me in this phase of my life. Thank you.

  • Simon says:

    A personal favorite quote about wolves in the wild:

    “The facts of life took on a fiercer aspect; and while he faced that aspect uncowed, he faced it with all the latent cunning of his nature aroused.”

    ? Jack London, The Call of the Wild

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